Today is the anniversary of the devastating quake that shook an already too fragile nation. 2011 seems so long ago. And yet, in some ways, it feels like yesterday. Significant, life-altering experiences have a way of not following the confines of time. It is a rare that a day or week goes by that I don’t think about Haiti, pray for her people and remember those we were fortunate to serve, and those we were even more fortunate to call friends. Some days, I ache for that time again. I was so very aware of my limitations and at the same time, so acutely reliant on my need for the Lord’s strength. Strength to usher me into the light, to not lose my sight. At times, everything felt so bleak amidst so much brokenness and loss. The earthquake and subsequent challenges lengthened the already long shadow that seemed to have been cast over Haiti centuries ago.
After coming back from our year there, and even in the years that followed, I wondered what God’s plan was for Haiti. Wrecked by poverty, a staggering 80% unemployment rate and a spiraling orphan crisis, it’s hard to envision a future for her people. There were days I was desperate to see an alternative.
Sometimes, in my rawest moments of honesty, I wondered if God had forgotten about Haiti.
But against the backdrop of pain and death, there were days I would see goodness and life. When I was in Haiti, I wrote about the anniversary of the earthquake for Relevant Magazine here and here. Today, I needed to re-read these and remember the stories, which seem to still be held together by a thin, fraying thread of hope. I relish the memories of the unsung heroes I was so privileged to write about — their resilience, their beauty and their motivation to keep moving forward. Heroes like Esaie, our dear friend who opened an orphanage for orphans of the earthquake and put his life on hold to care selflessly for them. Heroines like Micheline who has taken in orphans of her own, and has worked hard to beat the odds and become a success provider for her family.
Truly, this is where God can be found. If you listen with intent and enter into the stories that are found in the bustling slums of Cite Soleil or in the makeshift camps of downtown Port au Prince, you will find He is mightily, though sometimes quietly, at work.
Haiti gave me so much more than I gave it. And for that, I will never give up hope.
Nou pap janm bliye. We will never forget.